Context is all, and the context for reporting of the ticket ‘dispute’ for our Newco game on the 30th was significantly skewed. In brief:
After humiliating defeats by Celtic at Ibrox, Newco cut Celtic ticket numbers by 90%. This led to 700 Celtic fans in a corner of the stadium with bottles and other missiles thrown at them. I’ve been there and it is incredible this option passed Health and Safety rules.
Celtic initially reciprocated the 700 tickets arrangement before drawing a line: we have safe arrangements for visiting fans or nothing at all. Celtic want a return of 7,000 visiting fans, Newco want only 700.
An SPFL subcommittee agreed that home clubs had a duty to provide a “reasonable” number of tickets for visiting fans but that arrangements should be SAFE AND RECIPROCATED.
Celtic issued a statement highlighting the subcommittees assertion of fan safety, Newco’s statement talked about a reasonable number of visiting fans, without reference to safety conditions on that requirement.
Guess how the story was reported? Amazingly, Newco won the case but were forced to concede. That was actually reported in Scotland yesterday. It bothers me more than it surprises me.
We all know fan safety is paramount and it is either impossible or expensive for Newco to guarantee the behaviour of fans sitting adjacent to the corner they previously put Celtic fans. We also know denying visiting fans access detracts from the game. We can further agree (with the SPFL) that arrangements should be reciprocal.
The solution is to revert to 7,000 visiting fans but this cannot happen without Newco relocating their ultras group, whom they are loathed to take on. Alternatively, we lock out away fans, or run the safety gauntlet at Ibrox until a tragedy occurs. Safety. Ibrox. I know!